Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping about “outstanding issues” along the Line of Actual Control, and the two leaders “agreed” to “direct their respective officials to intensify efforts for the rapid withdrawal and de-escalation” of troops on the front. ground floor. It appeared to be a breakthrough in efforts to reduce tensions between the two countries over the military standoff in eastern Ladakh since May 2020.
The development comes a fortnight before President Xi Jinping’s expected trip to Delhi for the G20 summit on 9-10. September, which India hosts.
Foreign Minister Vinay Mohan Kwatra said the chat between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping took place outside the BRICS summit in Johannesburg while briefing journalists on the Prime Minister’s commitments.
Modi and Xi were seen chatting in a video broadcast Thursday by the South African Broadcasting Corporation, the summit’s host broadcaster. They shook hands after joint media statements.
The two leaders spoke to each other without recorders or interpreters present.
It was their first face-to-face meeting since their brief discussion over dinner at the G20 summit in Bali in November 2022. The initial description of this conversation – the first since the border impasse began in May 2020 – was that it was merely an exchange of pleasantries.
Last month, India revealed that Modi and Xi had discussed the “need to stabilize bilateral relations” after China’s foreign ministry noted an “important consensus” reached by the two leaders at the Bali summit.
But this time, the Indian side detailed the content of the conversation between the two leaders during the foreign minister’s briefing. There was no reading on the Chinese side until Thursday night.
The 19th round of Corps Commander-level talks between India and China took place earlier this month at the Chushul-Moldo conference venue on the Indian side.
According to a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs, the two sides held a wide-ranging conversation to resolve the lingering concerns along the LAC in the western sector.
“In line with guidance from management, they exchanged views in an open and insightful manner. They agreed to expeditiously resolve the remaining issues and maintain the pace of dialogue and negotiations through military and diplomatic channels. Meanwhile, both sides have agreed to maintain peace and tranquility on the ground in the border areas,” the statement said.
Following the Sino-Indian standoff in April 2020 caused by Chinese military operations, there has been a disengagement from some friction points along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
With relations between India and China deteriorating following the Chinese PLA’s incursions into eastern Ladakh in May 2020, it is possible that the conversation between the two presidents and their decision to begin pushing for an early troop withdrawal could move the needle.
The commanders of the two countries have met several times recently to discuss ways to end the military impasse. The two sides have been communicating at various levels since mid-July, including with their foreign ministers, national security advisers, corps commanders, generals and other commanders on the ground.